Baked in the City is a happy network of homebakers like us, out to embrace more of our own. Our group is about celebrating home-baked treats and the absolute joy that goes into making them! Members look forward to sampling each other’s baked goods, learning new baking techniques together, sharing information on ingredients, trading sources or suppliers and even trying out new recipes from those who are willing to share.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Pastry Perfect!

by Yumi Castrillo

photo by Camille Bautista

With much anticipation (and relief) the day finally arrived, the first pastry exchange actually happened!

I must admit, I was prepared for failure.

I had bouts of paranoia running through my head, from fear of no-shows from the bakers to what if my brownie would be the most awful tasting baked good offered on the table! Oh it was a difficult night-before. Thankfully, there were too many things to do for such thoughts to fester.

The exchange was set on a humid Saturday afternoon, perhaps not the best setting for desserts with steaming hot coffee and tea. But as I bring out my brownie from the oven, the air is completely filled with a wonderful aroma of gooey fudge and fresh-from-the-oven sweetness. I am immediately comforted. The excitement in the air begins to build up as bakers started trickling in through the front door with their goodies in tow. It was a good start for an exciting afternoon with lots of ooohs and ahhhs thrown around the room as each baker sets up their treat on the table.

Smores Bars, photo by Camille Bautista

The much tested theory of throwing strangers together with a common interest worked. The bakers comfortably introduced themselves to each other and started chattering away as if friends for life. “Ooh that looks good!”, “For how long do you bake it?” and other baker musings. It was fantastic!

Once all goodies were laid out, we began the short program. Each baker talked about her kitchen background, and shared the story behind her baked creation for the afternoon. To some, the bar or brownie they brought was an old favorite or a family recipe. For others, the delicacy was a newly concocted discovery. My own Dark Chocolate Brownie with Grand Marnier was an internet find and the recipe just tweaked to add orange essence. It was fascinating to hear the oh-so-familiar story of looking for the best recipe, adjusting it to perfection and finally hitting eureka! All the talk made us all the more excited to sample the goods.

We piled around the table and started taking small portions of the bars. We felt like kids let loose inside a candy store! It was so much fun tasting everyone’s heavenly bar or brownie and we enjoyed the variety that the pastry exchange yielded. The bakers flitted in and out of small groups sharing techniques, asking for tips, exchanging contact info and generally basking in the company of fellow food enthusiasts.

Bakers doing the exchange, photo by Louie Lim

After all the sampling, it was time to do the actual ‘exchange’. With a box in hand, we started going around the table and began stacking bars of each kind. It was a dream buffet line.

The Loot Box, photo by Kit Langit

Towards the end, most of us were pretty giddy from the sugar rush. The high however wasn’t entirely induced by sweets. We were all genuinely happy to have met each other and encountered all those pastries in one afternoon.

All gone! photo by Camille Bautista

* * * *

As we look forward to the next Pasty Exchange, we’ll be updating our blog with weekly articles on the homebakers who joined the first one.

Check-out Baked In The City’s features on the different bars and brownies that took center stage last Saturday. Kudos to the bakers who generously shared them with all of us:

MAYLA DOMINGO - Mango Cashew Nut Bars
LILET LIM - Cappuccino Bars
MIRIELLE GAZA - Carrot Walnut Bars
EMILY MANUEL - Peanut Butter Blondies
RIA SALABIT - Revel Bars
YUMI CASTRILLO - Dark Chocolate Brownies w/ Grand Marnier
MICHELLE YULO - Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars
JEN RAMIREZ - Marble Fudge Brownies

photo by Kit Langit

1 comment:

dharmadreams said...

they look so delicious!!!!!!!!!!